Saturday, September 10, 2005

Nice Parish Image

This is Blessed Sacrament parish in Seattle, Mark Shea's own, and a parish I have visited. And it looks like, since the last time I was there, they have moved the Tabernacle out of the side altar and back behind the main altar.


While I'm Taking a Break From Restoring My Images

I checked out this post on reviving traditional devotions over at The Inspired Traditionalist, and can say it deserves a thumbs-up.

Friday Is A Penitential Day

St. Peter's Helpers reminds us that we are not required to gourge on meat on Fridays. We can abstain, and it is the Catholic thing to do.

I said the same thing almost 3 years ago.

Working On It

I've exceeded the monthly bandwith for my Photobucket account, so many of the template images (and images, mostly in the archives now, from postings before this month) are unable to be seen.

I'm working on an easy solution and hope to have most, if not all, of the images back up before the end of the day. And what I don't finish today, I will work on tomorrow.

Friday, September 09, 2005

Was Shakespeare An Elizabethan Catholic Apologist?

The New Liturgical Movement reprints a Clare Asquith article that says he was, and that his plays contain many coded messages that were actually pleas for toleration for the "Old Faith."
A happy coincidence, as I am now reading Monsignor Robert Hugh Benson's Come Rack! Come Rope! about penal days under Elizabeth. I'm a hundred pages in and am enjoying it. But you will need a good library or used book seller to find it. It is long out of print.

Thursday, September 08, 2005

National Day of Prayer and Rememberence

For the victims of Hurricane Katrina: September 16th.

Hurricane Evacuees Arrive In Massachusetts

The first hurricane refugees have arrived in Massachusetts.

Massachusetts scrambled to set up housing for 2,500 refugees at Camp Edwards on Cape Cod. Then, it seemed as if none of the refugees wanted to come to the Bay State. Today a hundred came. And much has been grumbled about ingratitude here recently.

But consider the position these poor people are in. They are from a place quite distant from here. Few of them have connections or relatives here. They are unused to our colder climate. Moreover, their property, or what remains of it, is all in New Orleans, and it would be a wrench for anyone to hare off more than a 1000 miles, with no way to return or even be near your things for months while their status remains in doubt. Then there are the fates of loved ones and friends who are still missing. To put oneself so far out of the way when bodies might be recovered, when relatives may turn up in hospital, or be looking for them, is hardly wise.

I have seen the word "spurn" used in disgruntled headlines here. But given the situation these people are in, wouldn't anyone prefer to stay in some proximity to their lives, rather than risk all on he hospitality of strangers in a strange cold place?

Just Finished

I just finished Monsignor Ronald Knox's Spiritual Aeneid, the story of his conversion from the Anglican Communion to Rome.

For those of you who do not know the story, Knox was the son of an Anglican bishop, one of a pretty liberal outlook. But his own tastes, formed at Eton and Oxford, were more towards the "high church" end of the Anglican spectrum. In fact, he was one of those very-high-flying Anglicans who consider themselves Catholics separated from Rome by historical accident.

In reading his account of his years as an Anglican "priest" (minister) he sounds as Catholic as a Catholic: rosary, Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament, confessions, hyperdulia of the Blessed Virgin, dulia of the saints, calling himself a "priest," and the service he oversees aa "mass." As Catholic as a Catholic? More Catholic than many, especially today.

My sentiments, over and over in reading about his against-the-tide efforts to Romanize Anglican worship, were, "Man, couldn't someone as bright as you, a First at Oxford, understand that the tide was hopelessly against you in the Anglican Communion?". Perhaps it is that, with 80 years more perspective on the history of the Anglican church, I can see that there was never any hope for Knox, or Newman before him. Whatever individual Anglicans wish to call themselves, their church is protestant, not Catholic. You can only be Catholic, as Knox himself came to understand, by being in communion with the Bishop of Rome.

What finally pushed Knox to swim the Tiber? It was coming on gradually since before his ordination. But World War I was the key. He found himself having to advise like-minded Anglicans who might be going to their deaths on the Western Front about whether to "Pope" or not, whether they were legitimately Christians if they stayed out of communion with Rome. Finally, when forced to consider how the Anglican church was drifting, and the basic characteristics of heresy and schism, he concluded that, in fact, he had not been a real priest, the services he officiated at were not the Mass, and the bread he used at the service was not the Bread of Life, the Saving Host.

What would he have thought of the Anglican Communion today, with its gay bishops "married" to their catamites, women bishopettes, women priestesses, gay "marriages" being blessed, or even performed, by Anglican "clergy" ? I don't think he would have stuck it out so long, no matter how many Anglican bishops were among his ancestors.

So Knox's conversion marked the deep failure and misperception of the Anglo-Catholic movement. Ultimately, as Newman, Faber, Knox, and so many others discovered, if you are not in communion with Rome, you can have all the candles, statues, incense and bells, all the vestments and Gothic architecture and Latin you want, but you still remain a protestant, not a Catholic. I think that is a lesson that needs to be absorbed today by schismatics who pettily insist that there is no legitimate pope, or stubbornly stay outside of communion with him over mere externals (when Rome is trying to soothe the differences over the externals of worship on several fronts) and by high-flying members of protestant churches, the modern day Knoxes who are still out there re-learning the lessons learned 80 years ago.

Come home to Rome!

Incidentally, I noted in reading about Knox on line, that some sources say that Chesterton was the major influence in his conversion. A reading of Spiritual Aeneid does not support this. Knox admired Chesterton, and had met him, but if anyone was a major influence on Knox's conversion (as a role model) it was Robert Hugh Benson, about whom I mean to learn more myself. Chesterton had not even "poped" yet himself when Knox did.

Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary

Today, nine months after the Immaculate Conception on December 8th, the Church celebrates the birth of Our Lady. Only three birthdays are celebrated in the Church calendar: Christmas, of course, St. John the Baptist's, and Our Lady's.

Nativity of the Blessed Virgin by Andrea di Bartolo

A good description of the importance of this day from Tradition In Action.

The Golden Legend has much more to say about Our Lady's birth.

Want to get Our Blessed Lady a gift for her birthday, but don't know any companies that deliver to Heaven? I doubt even FTD can get it there. Make it simple. Say the Rosary today, spend some time with her other Son in the Blessed Sacrament, and give what you can afford to the Saint Vincent de Paul Society's Hurricane Relief effort.

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Gay "Marriage" Ban Initiative Petition Approved By Mass. AG

Massaschusetts Attorney General Tom Reilly certified that the proposed initiative petition to ban gay "marriage" in the Bay State, while not creating civil unions, is not prima facie unconstitutional.

That means it still needs to be approved by the legislature in 2 consecutive sessions before it goes to the voters. That will be tough, as the Senate is now pro-gay "marriage."

We Were All Robbed

Read this great account of what we were deprived of because of when we who are now 45 and younger were born.

Found via The Lady In the Pew.

Please Do Not Forget

To donate to the hurricane relief efforts of the Saint Vincent de Paul Society.

First Audience

His Most Catholic Majesty King Juan Carlos and Queen Sophia have had their first audience with Pope Benedict.

A Bitter Trial

Father Schall reviews A Bitter Trial, found via Ten Reasons.

Five New Saints

And 17 new Blesseds, including Cardinal Galen and 8 martyrs of the Spanish Civil War.


Archbishop Burke: Call your office.

Today's Catholic Cultural Heritage Images

Here's one you won't find in any Catholic church built in the US: The Rood Screen

It was a feature of many medieval churches, a screen usually of Gothic design, separating the sanctuary from the nave. It is the western equivalent of the eastern iconostasis. The Reformation and Catholic Reformation mostly did away with the Rood Screen, leaving just the Communion Rail as the divider between the two parts of teh church. During the Gothic Revival, AWN Pugin, and others designed new ones in places like St. Giles, Cheadle. Aside from Gothic Revival examples, the best preserved ones in the English-speaking world today, ironically, are in Anglican churches.

Late Rood Screen from small church in France.

A Pugin-designed screen at St. John the Evangelist, Lancashire: very opaque.

Another French Rood Screen:
The interior of the admirable collegiate church of Villemaur. The rood screen, which dates from the sixteenth century, is decorated with panels representing the life of the Blessed Virgin on the side facing the chancel, the Passion and Resurrection of Our Lord on the side facing the nave. It is surmounted by a Calvary, whose statues of the Virgin and St. John had been found in the rectory’s woodshed, and replaced on the rood screen by ...in 1959.

A detail of the kind of tracery often found on Rood Screens, probably Anglican

Another Pugin Rood Screen for the Blessed Sacrament Chapel at the Benedictine Monastery at Ramsgate

Painted Rood Screen salvaged from Jervaulx Abbey at the Dissolution of the Monasteries. Currently in St. Andrew's Anglican church in Aysgarth, Yorkshire.

On the whole, while many of these Rood Screens are lovely, I think I prefer to be able to see what is going on at the altar clearly and without obstruction.

The Cappa Magna

Father Tucker over at Dappled Things has a new photo spread on the Cappa Magna, from Cardinal Richelieu to Cardinal Pell.

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Requiescat In Pace

Bob Denver known to generations of TV viewers as Gilligan, of Gilligan's Island fame, died today at the age of 70. That is one TV series that, unlike MASH and All In the Family, with their relentless liberal messages, does not seem hopelessly outdated 30 years after it was aired. It is a classic. Requiescat in pace.

Living Saints

St. Peter's Helpers offers a thought-provoking, and undoubtably debate-provoking list of living people who might well one day be raised to the altars of the Church.

Today's Catholic Cultural Heritage Image

Just stumbled on this one.

The Most Holy Name of Jesus church, Manchester, UK
This is a Jesuit parish in Manchester that was designed in 1869 by Joseph Aloysius Hansom, of Hansom Cab fame.

Catholic Church Conservation reported that it was going to be turned into a conference center, but has earned a reprieve to remain open as a Catholic church.

Back To Active

That bloggin' fool Mark Shea is back, posting up a storm.

Another Hurricane Relief Reminder

Please help the Saint Vincent de Paul Society help out those whose lives have been disrupted by the Hurricane.

Another Tiber Crossing

Owen of Luminous Miseries. He is giving up his job as a protestant pastor to join the Catholic Church. Keep him in your prayers.

Roberts For Chief Justice

Looks like a good pick, though I would have preferred Scalia. The key is that the enemy had not found anything significant to criticize Roberts about. So, since his nomination will be confirmed by the Senate, why not? We don't lose much in conservative stature. And Roberts is much younger than Scalia, and likely to be on the Court for a good 20-30 years.

That still leaves the other vacancy. My money says it will go to one of the Judges whose first name is Edith. Probably Clement, though I would prefer Jones. If it went to Professor Glendon, Bush would be accused of stacking the Court with devout Roman Catholics, and the evangelicals might not be too happy.

Sunday, September 04, 2005

Today's Catholic Cultural Heritage Images

Yesterday's exploration of the Sacro Monte di Vallaro put me in mind of a different "sacred mountain," with the strongest ties to Saint Benedict, Monte Cassino. The task faced in rebuilding New Orleans is comparable to the effort that went into rebuilding Monte Cassino after World War II.

The monastery there, the first home of the Benedictines and the Rule of Saint Benedict, has been destroyed and rebuilt numerous times. The penultimate rebuilding enjoyed 600 years of stability, before finally being virtually levelled in World War II. It was rebuilt after the war in substantially the same manner as it existed before.

The view from the monastery: why holding it was vital to both sides

The rubble left after the epic battle

The eminence of the monastery's position, seen from the Polish Cemetery, which itself is quite high up

The reconstructed interior

Two views of the high altar

The cloister

Check out this site for some stunning views of the great reconstruction of the interior. Not every work of Church architecture since World War II has been dreadful.

Why Divorce Is Never the Right Option

From Our Lady of the Rosary Apostolate:


The Marriage Union was made sacred by God Himself and for a lifetime. God's love truly shines forth in a married couple's life when they place Our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, in the center of their lives. With His help, they seek to live in accordance with the Lord's commandment, "love one another as I have loved you." (John 15:12)

Marriage entails "for better or for worse" an unconditional acceptance of all joys and sufferings in marriage. Love is a decision to daily forgive, not dependent on feelings but on commitment to love until "death do us part." God alone established Marriage; therefore, marriage does work when we follow His way of love. As Christ sacrificed Himself for us, so we too must sacrifice ourselves for our spouse, totally.

Before Marriage, Catholics are commanded to date only Catholics, who love God with their whole heart and soul. Scripture warns: "Bear not the yoke with unbelievers." (2 Cor. 6:14)

Our Lord's teaching that marriage is indissoluble is clear. He said to the Pharisees who questioned Him about the lawfulness of divorce: "Have ye not read that he who made men from the beginning, made them male and female, and He said: for this cause shall a man leave father and mother and shall cleave to his wife and they two shall be in one flesh. Therefore now they are not two, but one flesh. What therefore God hath joined together, let no man put asunder." (Matt. 19, 34:6)

Christ absolutely forbade divorce with no exceptions: "Whosoever shall put away his wife and marry another, committeth adultery against her. And if the wife shall put away her husband and be married to another, she committeth adultery." (Mark 10: 11,12) Again, St. Paul reminds us in Sacred Scripture: "But to them that are married, not I but the Lord commandeth, that the wife depart not from her husband. And if she depart, that she remain unmarried, or be reconciled to her husband. And let not the husband put away his wife." (1 Cor. 7, 10:11)

The words of Christ and St. Paul are most clear. They stigmatize the remarriage of either spouse with a third party as adultery. (Matt. 10:11; Luke 16:18); they declare that if a just cause for separation exists, the parties must remain single or become reconciled: (1 Cor. 7:10); they assert that death alone can dissolve the marriage bond. (Rom. 7:2; 1 Cor. 7:39)

The State is no guide in the matter of divorce as St. John Chrysostom remarked over a thousand years ago. He writes: "Do not cite the civil law, made by outsiders which command a bill be issued and a divorce granted. For it is not according to these laws that the Lord will judge thee on the Last Day, but according to those which He Himself has given."

And let me add a big "Amen!" to what The Inspired Traditionalist has to say on how a marriage ought to unfold and be nurtured.

If Today Were Not A Sunday

It would be the feast of the Translation of Saint Cuthbert, which you can read about at Chambers' Book of Days.

Tomb of Saint Cuthbert at Durham Cathedral

And While We Are Doing a Sunday Sports Update

The Red Sox are still holding the 3.5 game lead over the Yankees. The Sox beat Baltimore Saturday. The Yankees, Angels, and As are in a three-way identical records tie for the AL Wild Card (actually a 2-way tie, as one of the western teams will probably win the AL West).

B.C. Eagles Start the Season Well

They beat BYU 20-3 yesterday.

Now if only the theology department and the law school faculty were doing so well.

Please Do Give

This weekend there is a special collection at all Catholic churches in the US for hurricane relief.

If you missed it because you were on vacation, or want to give more, please visit the Hurricane Relief sites at the top of my column on the right. I especially recommend the Saint Vincent de Paul Society.

I did the collection at early Mass this morning, and was happy to notice several $50 bills in my basket for the second collection, despite the small house normal for a holiday weekend.

Good Post On Confession

Over at The Inspired Traditionalist.

Speaking of which, I totally forgot that these last few days were First Friday and First Saturday. So we start all over again next month.

I Guess It Is Some Sort Of Listing Of Blogs

In the The Truth Laid Bear Ecosystem, Recta Ratio is a large mammal.

Well, if we have to be a large mammal, we hope we are a King Charles Spaniel.

Replacing the Chief

President Bush now has to fill a second vacany for the Court. Since he has just concluded an interview process for filling one vacancy, it is likely that this second nomination will come quickly. All he has to do is pick one of the other distinguished conservatives he interviewed for the first vacancy. I would expect a nomination by the end of this week, a few days after the funeral of the Chief Justice.

My own preference would be to see Justice Scalia, a Justice after my own heart in almost every way, rewarded for 19 years of excellent conservative service and elevated to Chief Justice.

That still leaves a vacancy to fill. Right now, the talking heads are saying that there is not much fire in the belly of those opposing Judge Roberts' pending nomination to replace the retiring Justice O'Connor. There is not likely to be a filibuster. Die-hard liberal opposition can be expected from about 20-30 Democrats. This second vacancy should not change that.

Many of the names floated for the O'Connor vacancy would be fine for filling this one, too. In particular, Judges Edith Jones, J. Michael Luttig, J.Harvie Wilkinson, Emilio Garza, and Kenneth Starr would make excellent choices. Outside the judiciary, Professor Mary Ann Glendon of Harvard law School and former Attorney General (US Senator, and I think Governor of Missouri, as well) John Ashcroft ought to be considered. My favorite would be Professor Glendon, but failing her, Judges Jones, Luttig, or Garza would also be highly acceptable.

Though I greatly admire him, Ashcroft would be a minefield because of the War On Terrorism.

Since Justices Scalia and Thomas, as well as Judge Roberts are in the believing practising Catholic category, and Justice Kennedy is a CINO, I don't expect to see a European Catholic nominee this time. This time, I think President Bush will go with a woman (Judges Edith Jones and Edith Clement come to mind, but Judge Clement does not inspire any confidence as I expect her vote on issues like abortion to be rather similar to Justice O'Connors: we would not gain anything on net by nominating her) or an Hispanic, like Judge Garza.

Will there be a huge cataclysmic battle over this nomination a la the idealogical tong wars fought over the nominations of Judge Bork and Justice Thomas?

I don't think so, because there are some differences. First of all, with the Catholic vote so important today, Democrats would be imbecilic in the extreme to fight a battle to the last bullet for abortion.

Secondly, both the Rehnquist and O'Connor replacements are essentially replacing conservatives with conservatives. They are status quo nominations. Roberts is, I think, more conservative than O'Connor, and that is a gain for us. But many people see the Court in the last terms as split 5-4 with Rehnquist and O'Connor (along with Scalia and Thomas, as well as Kennedy) on the conservative side, and Stevens, Souter, Breyer, and Ginsburg on the liberal side. The degree of commitment to either pole in both camps waivers from issue to issue. Kennedy in particular is an unsteady reed that blows in the wind. But if we are just replacing conservatives with conservatives, if there is no explosive personal issue with the nominee, the Left will mostly hold its fire on this, though some degree of tub-thumping can be expected for fundraising purposes.

They can scarcely expect President Bush to nominate a liberal. His father made that mistake once, and reportedly regrets it. Eisenhower made that mistake twice, and publically said he regretted it. President Ford made the mistake, too, and his botched appointment is still sitting on the Court. Though I would feel a lot better if John Ashcroft (or Ed Meese) were the person vetting these nominations rather than AG Gonzalez, I hope and pray President Bush will not punt on this nomination.

Thirdly, unlike both those earlier nominations, Republicans control the Senate. Admittedly, that majority hangs on the votes of some pretty shady and unreliable characters: Specter, McCain, and any New England Republican from any state other than New Hampshire. Still, a majority is a majority. It is possible that Specter will, after holding fire on Roberts, decide to turn traitor on this nomination. But he does owe President Bush a lot for supporting him against a dynamic conservative primary opponent who might have knocked him off last year. Having the majority allows us to set the pace. The GOP can schedule this for early hearings, and can push hard to get the nomination through quickly.

I think President Bush can get what the conservative interest in this country wants on the Court to fill this vacancy. I think he should. The Left will howl, but my money says the real shooting won't start unless he gets to replace a slot currently held by a liberal, like Justice Stevens, who is much older than Chief Justice Rehnquist was.

Requiescat In Pace

Chief Justice William Rehnquist has died at the age of 80 after a year-long battle with cancer.

In his long tenure on the Court, he had defined what it meant to be a judicial conservative from the time he first took his seat in 1972. His incisive, usually brilliant opinions, sadly often lone dissents, led to his elevation to Chief Justice in 1986 by President Reagan. I read many of those opinions in law school with nods of the head and admiration.

For almost 19 years, he has done a fine job as Chief Justice, administering the work of the Court fairly, and never wavering from his solid conservative principles.

His death represents to me another milestone in the passing from the scene of a great generation of conservative leadership that included Pope John Paul the Great, President Reagan, and Prime Minister Thatcher. Of them, only the Iron Maiden now remains, and several strokes have silenced her public voice.

Rehnquist was one of the trusty old buoys that marked the channel of public life in the US in the late 20th century. His will be big shoes to fill.

Requiem aeternam dona ei, Domine,
et lux perpetua luceat ei.

Pie Jesu Domine,
dona ei requiem!

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